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President Bush's Character an Important Issue for Some US Voters - 2004-09-10

President Bush has made character a centerpiece of this election, telling voters that the strength of his leadership has made America safer, while accusing Democratic opponent John Kerry of flip-flopping over the war in Iraq and support for U.S. troops. White House correspondent Scott Stearns has been asking voters in the key swing state of Pennsylvania what they think about the president's character in this election. He began with a Republican rally in the lakeside city of Erie.

"I think he's doing a great job, and I'm glad to be a part of history by attending something like this. It was great," one voter said.

STEARNS: "What is it about George W. Bush that makes you want him to be president?"

VOTER: " He's just a good leader. He exudes leadership. That's why I like him."

2ND VOTER: "He's a man of values. He's a man of honesty and a man of integrity, and he's got the guts to make the call for going to war. And I know war is not the best thing in life, but it's better if we can solve the problem in its nest than let it spread."

3RD VOTER: "He has really good morals. He doesn't believe in abortion. And I like that."

4TH VOTER: "You know, they had Clinton in there. He didn't do nothing. This guy, he's in there, he does everything. He's great. I think he's going to make another four more years in there."

5TH VOTER: "Safety of our country. I think he is the best man to keep us safe and to keep moving forward."

6TH VOTER: "I think because of his beliefs. And what he stands for. How he isn't afraid to say that he is a Christian. And that he prays a lot. And I think that means a lot to a lot of us in this country that we have a president who prays before he makes decisions. I know that doesn't go over a lot with a lot of people but for a lot of us it does."

7TH VOTER: "He's awesome. He is courageous. He has the biggest heart. And he is just awesome. He is an awesome leader."

Democratic protestors outside a Bush rally in Johnstown, Pennsylvania are less charitable.

8TH VOTER): "How can he think that is the right thing to do? To kill all these people? How can that be good character? And he lies, and he says that they have all these weapons of mass destruction, and they don't even have them."

9TH VOTER: "In a discussion of character, the most important thing is honesty in my view. And in all of the lead-up to the war against Saddam there was the argument that we were looking for weapons of mass destruction even though there is a lot of factual basis that shows that many of the arguments they used, such as the uranium from Niger, was in fact forged or doctored. So if we are going to speak about character, we should speak about the president's honesty. And I think the president has displayed a rather willful tendency to at least play loose with the truth."

10TH VOTER: "He will stoop at any level to destroy Kerry and to get in the White House again."

11TH VOTER: "If he was really for America, he would be working harder to keep the jobs in America rather than outsourcing."

12TH VOTER: "He can't discourse. Every time you want try to talk to him he gives these one-line quips. He's so upset about things. We are trying to understand, well, OK, you started this war about weapons of mass destruction and Osama bin Laden. We don't see him. Nobody talks about him."

13TH VOTER: "Characterwize, he has shown me that he can lie to the whole country about the reasons for going over there. I don't think that shows good character. I think the character would be trying to work problems out and saving innocent lives and not send them over there on lies."